A confession: I love Lyons. I love the people, the music scene, the arts, the caring of the community, the fact that we don’t have parking meters, the parks, and the great new library. Among other things.
We had been living in a small town (Lambertville, population 4,000) in New Jersey on the Delaware River, 12 miles north of Trenton, for 37 years. It was a nice community with lots of Victorian homes and a somewhat diverse population. We raised our two kids there and had lots of friends. Philadelphia was 45 minutes away, and New York was about an hour and a half. Our kids settled down in Austin, Texas and Lafayette, Colorado.
Retirement loomed, and we found Austin too hot and too large, although it was of course tempting to be near our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. Boulder was not our style. Our Boulder-area daughter-in-law was a realtor in Denver, and was put to the task of finding our dream retirement home. She found what we were looking for: a small river town and a house built in 1976 that needed some renovation.
As of then, our only experience with Lyons was passing through en route to Estes Park, where our daughter-in-law and our son were married a few years earlier. Our recollection of the town was, frankly, underwhelming. However, we trusted her judgment, and with only a short video that the kids made, we bought the Apple Valley Road property. “You can fly fish off the deck!” we were told. Not a fisherman, I was not sold on that amenity.
The house needed some serious renovation, as the previous owners had not done much in the 35 years since it was built. Fortunately, we were referred to a retired craftsman/builder who supervised the work, Ron McGuckin, who was a neighbor a few doors downstream.
After months of serious money on top of the purchase price, we moved in–just ten weeks before the flood swept away stands of mature trees, our septic system, and half the land.
But that’s another story.
So, why do I love this town so much? I could say that the flood brought lots of people together in their efforts to rebuild (i.e., misery loves company). The shared trauma certainly gave us a commonality of pain and hardship. However, in the ten weeks after we moved in before getting hit by the flood, we knew more people in town and on the road (Apple Valley) than we knew in the nine-block neighborhood of our little town in New Jersey.
At the first Sandstone Concert that year (“Wow, you can drink beer in a public park?”), we were greeted by LaVern Johnson, who wanted to know when we moved in and where we came from. She wrote about us in her weekly column in the Lyons Recorder. It did not take long to get to know people and enjoy the summer of 2013.
And then the flood hit. But the flood gave us more opportunities to be helped and then help others. Restarting the Lyons Recorder is both a pay-back and a pay-forward. And as a writer from my college days (BS Journalism, Rider University, 1970), I confess to loving and supporting community journalism.
This digital paper reflects the energy, commitment, and individual hours of effort by a group of about 12 core people with additional writers. So far, after five issues, we think of this as a labor of love, and a testament to the dedication of a group of people who want to keep community journalism alive.
My hope is that we can bring news, features, and opinion to Lyons, and give the community a voice that informs and entertains.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.